This blog is part of a podcast series following one Minnesota farmer through a season of strip-till. Listen to the full audio episode by scrolling to bottom of post.
When fall harvest and tillage kick into high gear, the last thing farmers want is down time. Ed Hegland is taking precautions to avoid unproductive down time by having Environmental Tillage Systems product support manager Kevin Kuehn conduct a thorough inspection of his SoilWarrior to make sure everything is in peak condition when it’s time to roll.
“I just think it’s very important because they know exactly what they’re looking for,” Hegland says. “I’ve inspected it myself and cleaned it up this spring after using it, but he’s finding some fertilizer packed into spots I didn’t even know existed. It’s really helpful to have someone with that experience come and be able to do that.”
“ETS offers and inspection service that brings a trained technician out and we’ll go through the machine from hitch pin to taillights,” Kuehn says. “We go through it so that when you hit the field it runs as designed and you have a very efficient and effective day in the field.”
This is the third fall Hegland has used his SoilWarrior on his farm in Minnesota’s Lac Qui Parle County, but it’s the first time he’s had ETS provide the full inspection. Kuehn says regular maintenance and care is important to a good experience. It’s up to the customer to decide how often they want the ETS inspection.
The inspection involves thorough checks of everything from the filters to the fertilizer delivery system and even oil levels in the tillage hubs. The process takes about half a day, but offers SoilWarrior users like Hegland peace of mind for the coming season.
“It gives me a lot of confidence to know that we’ve checked over things. We’re replacing chains, which I was going to do anyway, but to have Kevin here really gives me a lot of confidence going forward to know we did everything we could to get it into just about new condition,” Hegland adds.
Kuehn says for farmers doing preseason maintenance themselves, installing guidance system updates is an important step farmers need to take before the season begins. He also recommends making sure the active guidance system on the tractor being used to pull the zone-till machine syncs with the SoilWarrior. He also recommends cycling the fertilizer system, whether it’s a dry or liquid system to make sure all drives are working smoothly. Checking and filling oil in the tillage hubs to proper levels can also help growers avoid costly down time.
“They never break down in the machine shed so spending part of a day working through the machine minimizes chances for a poor experience your first day in the field and throughout the season,” Kuehn adds.
For Hegland, the clock is ticking. Crops are maturing nicely thanks to excellent growing conditions, although substantial portions of his crops were heavily damaged by June hail. Still, he expects to begin harvest the in late September setting off another hectic, but invigorating season.
“It’s just a matter of a few weeks and we’ll be going full bore and probably won’t stop for about six weeks,” Hegland says.